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Photo llustration by Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images

Researchers at Duo Security have developed an algorithm to hunt Twitter bots at Twitter-sized scale.

Why it matters: On a big social media platform, using humans to hunt automated scam accounts is a particularly difficult game of whack-a-mole. That is exactly the kind of problem Duo's algorithm can help solve. One of the moles it whacked during a testing was a large network of cryptocurrency scammers.

Researchers Olabode Anise and Jordan Wright will present that research later this week at the Black Hat cybersecurity conference. Twitter was responsive when Duo's reported bots, they said.

The big picture: The sheer scope of the bot problem makes it difficult to fight — just ask Elon Musk, who had so many bots using his name to promote cryptocurrency scams that Twitter banned naming accounts after him.

  • The bots in question are unmanned accounts that automatically spew content onto Twitter.
  • Not all bots are malicious. Most aren't. "During testing, one of the things we discovered was a bot that posted song lyrics someone thought were interesting," Anise told Axios.
  • The algorithm does not separate good from evil, just human from machine. Real humans still need to make the final call.

How it works: Duo feeds publicly available data, like how quickly accounts reply to other accounts, screen names, the time of day of posting and data from profiles.

Go deeper

State Department to set up new cyber bureau to combat hack attacks

Secretary of State Tony Blinken speaks on the challenges during an October conference in Quito, Ecuador. Photo:y Felipe Stanley/Agencia Press South/Getty Images

Secretary of State Tony Blinken announced Monday plans for the State Department to create a new bureau of cyberspace and digital policy.

Why it matters: The establishment of the bureau and plans for a new envoy to oversee critical and emerging technology come after a series significant hack attacks and other online crimes, notably ransomware assaults on U.S. infrastructure.

Biden rejects Trump's latest executive privilege claims

Photo: Jim Watson and Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The White House on Monday rejected two more of former President Trump's claims of executive privilege over documents that the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot requested, CNN first reported.

Why it matters: Trump's legal team is seeking to block some of the panel's requests for records by invoking executive privilege, which can allow presidents and their aides to sidestep congressional scrutiny. The Biden administration has maintained that it will evaluate on a case-by-case basis.

Amazon warehouse workers in New York file petition to hold unionization vote

Amazon workers and their supporters rally outside the National Labor Relations Board's regional office in Brooklyn, New York City, after filing a petition requesting an election to form a union. Photo: Gabby Jones/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Amazon warehouse workers in New York City filed a petition on Monday with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to hold a vote on unionization.

Why it matters: The move comes six months after an organizing effort was defeated at Amazon's distribution center in Alabama.

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